The New Yorker online community is new to me, but I am a subscriber to the print mag, so I’m lucky enough to have access to all of their content now — if for whatever reason this article by Paul Goldberger is temperamental, I’m sorry. It’s a very good read — but should be particularly entertaining for you if you happen to be either a Mets or a Yankees fan.
I was tempted to write a letter to the magazine about the piece, but I’ve found that with this blog, my letter-writing capabilities have fallen by the wayside.
The thing that Goldberger misses in his assessment, and what I think ultimately betrays what must be his inner-Yankee, is just how much Mets fans enjoy their unhappiness. Sure — we could have had a lovely stadium on the Upper West Side that was well incorporated into Manhattan. But that would have been so very un-Mets fan. Flushing suits us, unfortunately. The roar of a plane taking off from La Guardia, the continued allusions to Yankee grandeur, the inaccessibility of our digs. It’s all part of who we are.
To be a Mets fan is to be unhappy. We aren’t surprised to discover that Paul Goldberger is a Yankees fan. We aren’t shocked when he laments the co-option of Jackie Robinson (a New York Dodger, of course — the Mets wouldn’t have been so lucky) for the name of a Citi Field great hall. We certainly aren’t too upset when Goldberger fails to tell us whether or not the famed apple in a top hat will be joining us at Citi Field for all of those future home runs.
We take it all in stride. It’s all a part of being a Mets fan.
You are most certainly born into it. If you weren’t — I’m sorry. I can’t imagine a worse life than choosing to be a fan of the New York Mets. I was always sure it was just a part of your genetic code. When people ask me how long I’ve been a Mets fan I say, “Since 1962.”
“But you’re only 23!” they reply.
Ah. They’ve never felt the pain. You can’t escape it. The moment my dad saw the blue and orange on the tv screen, he was hooked. And right there: that’s what we call genetic coding. All these decades later he’s tried everything to stop the code. Last season he even suggested filing legal separation papers.
Nothing works. You’re stuck with them, I’m sure.
But I digress. I was talking about the apple popping out of the top hat. The joy of my youth. We saw it so seldom in the mid-1990s, it was like a birthday present. My brother and I would flip when we saw the apple. We would also sing “Let’s Go Mets!” every time we drove by the stadium. I’d feel sorry for my parents, but…you know, the code.
Which brings me to the name. Citi Field. Goldberger suggests that people have already begun to dub it Bailout Stadium. I’m all for the permanent change. There’s no name in the history of baseball, in the history of sports, nay, in the history of America (!) that is so well suited to the New York Mets.
Bailout Stadium. It sums up perfectly the sense of dread and self-loathing it takes to be a Mets fan. I don’t envy Yankees fans at all. You have a lot of glee and only occasional pain. When you have a lot of pain and only occasional glee, the glee is that much more otherworldly. Here’s to Bailout Stadium’s inaugural season.
Let’s go Mets.